Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wakie wakie - how to wake up your students

Here are few tips how to keep your students awake:

10. As you are teaching, you notice many blank stares, open-mouths, and droopy heads. (Either A. Your lesson has fallen into the rabbit hole, or B. You have lost them.) Quick, have them stand up and give you ten jumping jacks or push-ups.
9. Require students to give answers in their best British accent. (Ok, we have heard enough about the Royal Wedding, but the students love it!)
8. When responding to a writing prompt, have the students drop their pencils on the ground when they have completed the task. You won’t believe how MANY giggles and guilty looks you will get.
7. Have Chuck Norris randomly appear in one of your Power Points roundhouse kicking a wolf. For some reason, students are obsessed with him. See, it got your attention, didn’t it?
6. Play a sound clip of the Mission Impossible theme, have them act as 007 until the music stops. Then, whoever they end up next to, that is their partner for the activity, or that is the person that they share their Think-pair-share answer with.
5. Place random discussion or reading comprehension questions on sticky notes underneath a handful of desks. When you are ready to ask questions, ask them to peek and read-aloud the questions. This works really well for introverted or shy students. Plus, they LOVE secret note passing.
4. Gift of a lifetime. On a large piece of tag board, find a snappy, powerful verb and write it down. Wrap it like a present. Set it in the middle of the room, and ask the students if they know what it is all about. Tell them that it is a gift-of-a-lifetime, a powerful verb they can add to their vocabularies. Give them twenty questions to figure it out. (I cannot take credit for this activity. I learned it at a seminar for Interactive Writing Lessons to Teach With the Smart Board.)
3. Have each student call on the next student to answer your lesson questions. This motivates them to stay focused, and they enjoy calling on others! (Inspired by my student teacher)
2. At the beginning of class on Mondays, ask if anyone has any crazy stories to share from the weekend. Explain that these are important narratives that need to be told!
1. Paste Calvin and Hobbs comics on tests or quizzes. Even though they are ridiculous, students look forward to, and sometimes ask, for them.
If anyone has more ideas to capture the wondering, daydreaming, (hormonal) minds of middle school students, I would love to read about them.
About the Author

Michelle Doman is a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Brandon Middle School in Wisconsin's Rosendale-Brandon School District.  She is currently studying at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to obtain a Master's in the Reading Specialist program.  You can connect with Michelle by visiting her blog, Save the Drama for your...Middle School Teacher?!
The following is a guest post from Michelle Doman, a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Brandon Middle School in Wisconsin.

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